St Kilda Development Coach and Sandringham Senior Coach Jake Batchelor runs through each AFL-listed player's performance following this weekend's VFL clash against Essendon.
On the game
It was a tough game in totality. It was a high-standard game, we just gave them five goals in the space of 13 minutes at the start of the first quarter. They out-hunted us and out-worked us throughout the middle parts of the ground and we couldn’t defend the entries. Outside of that, we actually outscored them for the rest of the game. So there were areas throughout the game where we performed well, but it is still disappointing to lose. There were players who put in some good performances and will put their hand up for the AFL level this week.
32 disposals, 12 clearances, six inside-50s, two goals
Marcus had a good game. He played as an inside mid for us the whole game and ended up with 16 contested possessions and 12 clearances, which is good testament to the work he has been putting in. We needed someone to step up and for a first-year player that was really pleasing to see. There are still some decisions with ball in hand which we need to work on, but it was great for him to bounce back from not playing AFL the night before.
37 hit-outs, 19 disposals, nine clearances
Tommy bounced back from last week and he had a big improvement. You can see that his follow up around the contest was back to where it should be. He can still get a bit better with his work alongside Max Heath down the line, but he set up well and led from the middle. He had a solid game and it was good to see him back playing strong footy.
27 disposals, six marks
Lieno came back from playing as the medical sub last week and slot in nicely. He’s one of those players that can play on both tall and small forwards, he has that in-between height. There are some good growth areas for him in terms of game sense and understanding what we want at certain times in the game but all-in-all, he works well with the other defenders down there and he performed strongly.
24 disposals, 10 marks, one goal
Darragh, from my perspective, was our most influential player. He was sick throughout the week so his preparation wasn’t great, but you wouldn’t have known that by how he performed. He pulled down eight intercept marks and a lot of them were uncontested which means his positioning was good. There were a couple of early contests that he lost, but then he got out of his head and thought ‘I’m just going to worry about the ball and not about my man’, and the results showed. I’m really proud of him to get up and fight when he wasn’t feeling overly well.
19 disposals, six marks
Stats wise, Tommy didn’t have the game he normally does, but it was his tackling and his ability to fight in contests that stood out. Throughout the game, he was one of the reasons our defence held up in the second half, so if we can just tidy up a few areas and get him involved through the whole game, he’ll continue to improve.
16 disposals, seven marks, five inside-50s, one goal
Kenty played high half-forward for us and had a couple of shots on goal. His pressure probably wasn’t at the level we would like from where he was playing, so it is something we’ll keep working on and challenging the opposition going forward. He was a part of a few of our scoring chains, so if we can just get him involved a bit more, that will only benefit the team.
10 disposals, 10 tackles, one goal
Jack had an impressive game. His game isn’t based on stats, it is based on effort and work-rate. He played in the midfield for more or less the whole game, and his ability to run from contest-to-contest when we were a bit slow was a big bonus for us. His tackling was great, and they weren’t little ones either, they were big, strong tackles. He’s got a big heart, young Jack and he is improving each week.
23 disposals, six marks
Leo was better this week, his ability to defend when he had to put him in better spots to win the ball back for us. He got some ground-balls in the defensive-50, which was a big focus and he did it in the right way this week through defending his man first. There were some offensive decisions where he could’ve brought his teammates in a bit better but it was a big improvement for Leo and his attitude is great. It is a progression for him.
13 disposals, four inside-50s, one goal
Mason came into the side and probably didn’t have the influence that he would’ve liked. He struggled to get going into the game, but his ground contests were better and he is a powerful runner, so he was able to cover up a few of our mistakes when we had them. He’ll be looking forward to bouncing back and having some more impact on the game going forward, because he is too good for the VFL.
Three goals, seven disposals
Cooper was solid. He didn’t have heaps of impact, though he did boot three goals. But it was his running patterns that were great. He is never going to get heaps of the footy, but those patterns can disrupt the opposition defence is crucial for our ability to move the footy. He probably just needs to work on his pressure a bit more, but he’s acknowledged that. It was definitely a good game for Cooper, but there are opportunities for him to keep improving.
Eight disposals, one goal
Matty is progressing, he is showing glimpses but at stages they are still just glimpses. We need him to keep working on staying in the game as long as possible and not having those periods where he is out of the action. He is proactive in learning to get better and finding ways to improve, his attitude is great and he is putting in the work. It will no doubt come, we just need to keep working through the fundamentals.
Seven hit-outs, six disposals
Max is a bit in-between at the moment. He had an impressive start to the year so now it seems opposition defenders and rucks are putting in a bit of work into him, especially down the line where they are looking to put one or two guys on him and block him well. It is a good chance to now take that next step and work through that physically. We want to try to increase his ruck minutes too. Similar to Matty, he has a couple of good moments each week, we just now need to get that consistency into them.
Onto next week: Sydney at Lakeside
It is another great opportunity for us to get away and travel as a team. We were disappointed about how we travelled last week against Southport and how we started. The start this week is going to be important, the Swans scored 160 points last week so we need to focus on defence as a team and our system. We are looking forward to getting off to a good start against them.